Sanjay Dutt gets five years in jail in Mumbai blasts case
The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt to five years in jail for getting guns from gangsters involved in the 1993 bombings in Mumbai.
Dutt, 53, was found guilty of acquiring illegal weapons from those blamed for the bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people and was given four weeks to surrender. The actor has already served 18 months in jail.
"He will have to serve another three-and-a-half year sentence. We had prepared him for the same," Dutt's lawyer Satish Maneshinde told reporters. "We will wait for a copy of the Supreme Court judgement and then decide the further course of action," he said.
"He is a strong man and will fight back." In 2007, the actor was cleared of conspiracy charges in the Mumbai serial blasts but was found guilty of illegal possession of an AK-56 rifle and a pistol.
The actor was the most high-profile among 100 people found guilty in the bombings trial and had been originally sentenced to six years in jail.
The 1993 Mumbai attacks were ordered by India's most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim, the court said.
The entertainment industry reacted with shock to news of Dutt's sentencing. "Heart Broken: Just heard that Sanjay Dutt has to go to jail for 5 years. I expected mercy! Alas it did not happen," tweeted film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, who helped resurrect Dutt's career with two films after he was freed on bail in the 1990s.
For a man who reportedly took to drugs in high school, hobnobbed with India's most-wanted criminals and whose private life constantly made headlines, Dutt retains the sympathy of the industry and millions of fans who see him as a victim of his star lineage and own fame.
Dutt is the son of actor and former Congress minister Sunil Dutt. His sister Priya is a Congress MP in the Lok Sabha. Their mother, Nargis, had also been a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Dutt married longtime girlfriend Manyata in February 2008 and became a father to twins two years later. He has a daughter Trishala from his first marriage.
In 2009, the Supreme Court barred the actor from contesting the national elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket.
Through all his troubled years, Dutt managed to stay relevant in Bollywood, with his biggest hits being the two-series Munnabhai films in which he played a funny, do-gooder gangster.
"Lage Raho Munnabhai", the second of the two films saw him espousing the non-violent principles of Mahatma Gandhi. The films portrayed Dutt's character as a man with a heart of gold who messes up despite his best intentions, which some critics and supporters said mirrored his own life.
The actor was to reprise his role in the third Munnabhai film later this year. Dutt's sister Priya was present in court on Thursday.
The actor is currently shooting for his new film "Policegiri". "It's late in the night. Have an early morning shoot for policegiri. Good night and big Jaadu ki jhappi to all my lovely fans," Dutt had tweeted on Tuesday, using a phrase the "Munnabhai" film made popular.